Firdaus Tarmizi

Archive for the ‘Politic’ Category

SPR vs BERSIH Debate: Apa Selepas 9 Julai

In Politic on July 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm

1.  Perhaps, unbeknownst to the majority of us, there was a stimulating SPR vs BERSIH debate today, and I only knew about it from YB Sim Tze Tzin’s Facebook page.  Maybe, the timing of 2:00pm – 5:00pm is not convenient for a lot of us.  Beats me why they can’t broadcast a debate on a topic as important as this at prime time.

sprbersih - from YB Sim's FB

Apa Selepas 9 Julai? Exactly the question to ask.


2.   This debate was a pleasant development for me because I did mention here that I was looking for an intellectual debate on the issue.  I was hoping the opportunity will be used wisely because from what I can see, since the moderator managed to be non-partisan, this should be a good platform to understand the view from the opposing sides.

3.  I won’t be going through all the points made in the debate.  Perhaps you can catch it later from somewhere like Media Rakyat.  What I want to do instead is highlight some interesting points, and perhaps sums up what I think in the end.

4.  Points to highlight:

a)  Wan Ahmad, the deputy-chairman of SPR, is a brave man.  I say this because it was not so much a debate between Wan Ahmad vs Ambiga, but more of a showdown between Wan Ahmad vs the opposition/BERSIH-biased crowd.  He had to go through a grilling from the audience during the Q&A session, and most of the points he made was booed or shouted down.

b)  Wan Ahmad, however, did seem condescending towards the crowd, which might explain the their belligerence towards him.  His admonition such as (not verbatim) “See, you don’t know the law but want to debate here.  Go and learn the law first”, or “The opposition is too confrontational.  BN is nicer when dealing with us”, though might be on point, would seem a tad tactless.

c)  Quite a lot of the defense given by Wan Ahmad was along the line of “we do not have the power to change things”.  If so, who has the power?  Who should take the lead in reforming or improving the electoral?  If they do not have the power to change things, why vehemently reject BERSIH instead of channeling the demands towards those who has the power (the AG chamber, and the parliament, in this case)?

d)  I hate the argument of “if the opposition becomes the government, they would certainly do the same to guard their interest”.  This is related to the previous point, when/if the matter of changing the law is brought up to parliament.  The point is, it doesn’t matter who the government is.  If we disagree with a policy, we’ll disagree.  Perhaps, BERSIH 3.0 will be against the new government instead.  Who knows?

e)  Something very true was said by Wan Ahmad.  It was in regard to a question from the audience of “Why is it that the majority of people distrust the SPR right now”.  Wan Ahmad correctly responded by saying “How do you know what the majority thinks?”

I hate it when anybody, be it the government or the opposition, says they are representing the silent majority on an issue.  Such arrogance.

f)  The audience heckled like primary school kids, on any points they disagree upon.  Third world mentality.

g)  Lastly, a dumb ass from UNISEL stood up and, despite the fact that he is in a multicultural and multi-religious forum, spouted some crap about how demonstrating is Haram in Islam.  Good thing the moderator didn’t even bother to entertain the “question”.

5)  I would like to sum up the entry by something said by one of the observer.  This is not exact and I might even be misunderstanding it, but in short, he said our country had went through a couple of circles of democracy/politics.  The first circle is made up of the Merdeka generation, and the second circle consists of highly educated, well-informed, technological savvy generation.  The first circle perhaps will find it hard to understand the reason for freedom of expression, of open debate, of the right to disagree and to dissent.

It just made me wonder in which circle our politicians are in.


Bersih 2.0 – The Chicken and the Duck Syndrome

In Politic, Ranting on July 17, 2011 at 6:31 pm
Chicken and Duck - from

Malaysia: A Nation of Chickens and Ducks

The few weeks leading to , and one week after, the momentous (or devious, depending on which side you are on) Bersih 2.0 march (or riot) , I learned one very important information regarding Malaysians: we are a nation with severe inability to engage in mutually respectful discussion.

Intellectual discourse is dull and boring.  Malaysians generally crave spectacles and fireworks, hence liking speakers who can give the best performances, instead of having the best points.  Who cares about the best agenda and manifestos if they can virtually pulverize an opponent with their sermon?

Recently, an acquaintance brought up her desire to find “sensible threads where people speak with reason, not blind loyalty to the left or the right, nor blind hatred”.  To which I say: Trying to find that in Malaysia? Good luck with that, my friend.  The only sensible voice of reason in Malaysia is the pakcik making the Raya announcement.  And he also has retired.

Raya - taken from

Seriously, who can argue with this?


Jokes and cynicism aside, here are what I am looking for.  Alongside with what my friend are hoping for, I also hope for more people to  “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood“.  For people to be able to be on opposite sides without putting negative labels on each other.  For people to agree to disagree.  For people to debate based on the issue at hand, not along party lines.

These may all sound cliché, but they simply are not happening!  Ask yourself, to what end do you argue?  Is it to bend other people to agree with you?  To make other people submit to your definition of reality?

Or, are you trying to emphatically understand other’s point of view, their motivation and evidences for taking a stand, their anger and fear regarding an issue, WITHOUT trying first to think on how you would reply to their accusations and defend your points?  And, after understanding where people are coming from (even if not the same as you), to agree that they are still human and worthy of basic respect?

If the latter part is true, why are we seeing the tendency to demonize others who dissent?  Why the accusations that all BN supporters are sheep brainwashed by the mainstream media?  That all PR supporters actually worship Anwar and are agents of Jew and the US?

Why the habit of shutting off your ears from their words as soon as you know the person you are talking to supports another party?

More sinister are those people who actually understand EXACTLY what the other side is  saying and, far from trying to foster constructive discussion, try to poison and manipulate to support the own points.  Sadly, this is what the majority of politicians are doing.  That’s why I am telling you not to decide along party lines, but based on the issue at hand!

How many of us, without reading any opinion pieces, blogs or FB status updates, try to gather pieces of information and form our own opinion?  For a lot of us, because we form opinions based on our peers and not from our own convictions and values, we don’t like to face anything that challenge our assumptions.

That’s why, in the end, the chickens will continue to cluck cluck cluck, and the ducks keep on quack quack quacking, and will never find a common ground because they don’t bother to learn the other’s language.


My challenge to Malaysians:  Open a blog/website which support another party, and try to read their points without any preconceived notion.   Go through the article without labeling the author in a negative light.  See if you can, after reading, list down and summarize their points to another person in an objective manner and without balking in disgust.  And after that, see if you can counter the argument point by point without resorting to ad hominem or any other fallacies in argument.

If we can, perhaps, there’s some hope for us as a nation after all.

Things I Love to Hate

In Politic, Sarcasm on July 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm

How many of you like doing something that you know you’ll hate?  I am guilty of a few of these brainless activities.  This is my brand of mental sadomasochism at it’s finest.  For example:

1.  I love watching the mainstream media, although I know I’ll be totally disgusted by the biased and obviously scripted “news”. News 1: bad news in opposition state, News 2: bad news in opposition state, News 3: good news in Melaka.  News 1:  “Lim Guan Eng hantar MPPP belasah kakak Melayu jual pasembor”, News 2:  “Khalid Ibrahim pinjamkan lori kepada pencuri pasir”, followed by News 3: “Pelancaran Program Mesra Rakyat Terbuki Kerajaan BN 1Sayang 1Rakyat 1Malaysia in Pekan, Pahang”.  Rinse and repeat.  I call this my “Sesi Menyakitkan Hati”.

2.  I love to hate listening to Rais Yatim.  I purposefully search videos of Rais Yatim in Youtube so I can cringe at his perfect Bahasa Melayu.  He also has this tendency to look smug at the end of his answers, because he knows he successfully confused the questioner.  From him, I learned the value of using perfect-sounding Bahasa to totally hide the fact that you have no idea what you are talking about.  Case in point:


Kudos if you can summarize, in 1 sentence, what he’s really trying to say.

3.  I love to read forums and political blogs in Malaysia.  How can you not enjoy the sight of cyber warriors from both sides doing their best to totally ignore the points made by the opposite side, while enthusiastically attacking the personality and, sometimes, even the nicknames and the faces of their opponents?  Sheer class.  Lift my hopes up for the future of intellectual discourse in Malaysia.

4.  Lastly,  I love to surf the Facebook, despite knowing I will hate myself later judging people.  I recently found out how FB is the perfect place for you to be judgmental on people you don’t really know, based on their status updates and likes.  A Muslim who liked Bersih 2.0 page?  You are a brainwashed traitor to Islam who are led through the nose by the, I quote, “Ambiga keling paria haramjadah”.  Posted a picture of your child on FB?  You are an overly proud parent who wants to show off your baby who is not that cute anyway.  I’ve vowed to myself a few times to quit FB and delete my account, but alas I am just a weak Muslim who are brainwashed to love Facebook, a Jewish capitalist product.


Names blacked out to protect identity of people involved

P.S.:  Extra brownie points if you see what I did between point 2 and point 3.

Bersih 2.0: History or Infamy?

In Politic on July 8, 2011 at 11:45 pm

In another half an hour-ish, the blockade of KL will start. Despite all the reassurances of a peaceful assembly, I think KL will be a war zone tomorrow.  I hope I’m proven wrong, and my prayers for the safety of all involved.

I admire anyone who has the guts and conviction to give up a day of their life for a cause as big as this, provided they are marching as a testament to their belief.  I hope the demonstrators from both sides who’ll be marching tomorrow actually understand what they are fighting for.  Not just being there because the trend is to be anti-establishment, or because they are bribed to be there.

As for myself, I’m sorry to say that I’m going through my own personal battles, and I don’t have the fuel to burn for others.  I actually said to my wife today:  “In the history of mankind, there are events which people will remember as the turning point of a society, the trigger of revolution and evolution.  Do you think Bersih 2.0 will be one for Malaysia?”

If it does, I’m sure I won’t really regret not being part of it, because I know that the bigger battle for me right now is within my own self.